On our final night of vacation last week we went out for a celebratory dinner with my inlaws. The setting, overlooking the ocean, was incredible and the menu looked amazing.
Shortly after placing our orders, the servers appeared with a treat from the chef--a sorbet to cleanse our pallets before the first course arrived. At first my children were thrilled. Ice cream at the beginning of the meal!
We quickly noted that this scoop was a little different. It was garnished with cilantro and had avocado slices on the side. My children were thoroughly confounded as the server announced that it was a tomato sorbet. They were polite, but their facial expressions screamed:
Tomato ice cream?
We didn't ask for this!
We asked P to bless our food. His prayer was short and sweet--and has resonated in my heart and mind for the last 8 days.
thank you for whatever-this-is.
In Jesus' name we pray, Amen."
He seemed quite serious as the rest of our table stifled our giggles. The phrase has stuck with me:
"Thank you for whatever this is..."
In fairness, despite the prayer, 2/3 of my 9 year olds declined to taste the sorbet, but the sentiment remains. Back in the post vacation real world, as I have encountered circumstances that were not quite what I ordered...unexpected treats life has thrown my way, contrary to my own desires, I've pondered those words. Gratefulness as a habit/decision, even when the feelings may not yet be present.
It got put to the test the day after that dinner as our family of five missed our connecting flight (despite a valiant effort) and wound up with an extra 18 hours luggage-less in 107 degree Phoenix. After a few tears at the gate, (we missed the flight by 4 minutes!!) I heard my little bespectacled guy's voice: Thank you God, for whatever this is... We embraced the adventure and made a memory.
I pray for my responses to become increasingly more like P's prayer. What if gratitude was my first response...before the why's, protests or pity parties? What if I started with thankfulness, before I had all the answers?
I can only imagine more joy and peace would follow.
True faith and trust are most often found in the "whatever."
"Thank you, God, for whatever this is."